Trailer or Van? Which is best for you?

Transporting goods is impossible without the proper equipment to carry it, obvious right? Well sometimes it can be a little difficult to predict what you’ll need for the job. Even if you know the size of the goods they might have certain needs you need to care for. Or perhaps you are starting out and are considering what you should invest in, van or trailer? Here are some headache avoiding pointers on what to bring on your job.


Transporting with a VanAverage small van

By van we mean something with a roof and walls. Flatbed vans are more similar to trailers in this section because they offer similar features. A van offers a closed, sheltered environment for goods, excellent for delicate or soft goods like furniture or domestic electronics.

The problem is space. Having a bigger van solves this issue but that’s expensive. Also most vans just come with a flat empty space, good for putting items in but not offering much in anchor points for straps. These can be added of course. Rails and clips are conveniently sized but your size of van and the type of support can vary costs wildly.


Transporting with a TrailerTrailer with ramp

The benefits to a trailer are pretty much the opposite of a van’s weaknesses. They usually have secure points to strap things down and can have more bolted on. Space is less of an issue because no roof means you can put taller objects on than any van (With proper securing of course).

Problems are, as expected, the opposite of a van’s strengths. Unless you get one with a roof they expose your goods to the elements. Even with a roof and door they’re less sheltered than a fully enclosed van. This means delicate objects will be more at risk then if they were in a van.

How it affects driving

Towing a trailerWhichever you choose for how practical they are to carry things you have to take into account how much driving you’ll be doing with them. Vans are the easier option when it comes to driving. They are all one unit and drive like any other car. Hitching a trailer means you’ll be doubling the length of your vehicle and the turning point in the middle makes them easier to turn but reversing becomes near impossible. Jack-knifing is the enemy of many trailer users from caravaners to lorry drivers.Large van

What trailers have over vans is accessibility. Trailers are cheaper than vans in general (Average car trailer/Second hand van price range). However, what could be even more enticing are the insurance requirements. We of course ask for proper insurance on your business and vehicle. A van has unique insurance prices and requirements. Trailers within a certain size and weight can be insured for much cheaper, if however the vehicle and trailer combination weighs more than 3,500 kg you will need an operators license. The vehicle will also require a tachograph. If you don’t do this then the vehicle, trailer and what you’re carrying can be taken and impounded until a legal alternative can be given.


Overall both trailers and vans will likely be necessary as your transportation work continues. This allows for more flexibility and options. However when you start you may not be able to get both. We hope this comparison has made your choice easier.

If you are starting up a transportation business or wish to expand your reach, you can sign up to DQC for free here.


Christopher East-2018

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One Comment

  1. William Bird left a comment on 12/08/2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Your blog of the August 9th 2018 fails to explain that if you tow a trailer and the gross train weight [total weight] of the Van and Trailer and Load exceeds 3500 kg you will require an Operators Licence and the Van will have to be Fitted with a Tachograph.
    Failure to do so could result in your Van,Trailer and load being impounded by the DVSA until you can provide a legal vehicle to transport the load.

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